Tuesday, March 3, 2009
The Carolina Conspiracy Guest blogger is Clea Simon!
Thanks for having me on your blog! I'm very excited to introduce readers to my latest (April) Theda Krakow mystery, "Probable Claws." My first Dulcie Schwartz mystery, "Shades of Grey," will be out this summer, too.
- Clea Simon
What made you write for the first time?
I honestly cannot remember a time when I didn't write! I still have (thanks to my mom's archiving) a story I made up when I was first learning to write, about a turtle (misspelled) that found its way back home after being lost. Of course, I got to illustrate that, too. I majored in English literature and language in college, and after interning at a university press and working on various school and college journals, I figured I'd go into journalism because it got people to write on deadline! Books were the obvious next step.
I have always loved mysteries, from Encyclopedia Brown in elementary school, on to the present. But I think I doubted myself at first. I wrote several nonfiction books, because I knew how to research and how to present facts. But it wasn't until a local independent bookstore owner (Kate Mattes of Kate's Mystery Books) told me "You should write a mystery," that I started writing one. I think in some way she gave me permission to do what I'd always wanted to. I had a draft of my first mystery, "Mew is for Murder," about four months after she told me that.
Is your main character modeled after anyone?
I have two main characters now, Theda Krakow and Dulcie Schwartz, and they're both modelled after parts of myself. Theda is a freelance rock critic, as I once was, and lives for the community of the music scene. It's all young adults who gather at night, support each other, romance each other, and just try to figure out their lives. A lot of us had cats, too, so Theda was a natural! Of course, she's much tougher than I am, so she's got a bit of my old buddy Kris in her, too. Dulcie is much more of a bookworm, a little innocent and very sweet. She's a literature grad student, which I never was, but she's my bookish side. She lives for her stories, her close friends, and, of course, her cat. So when she stumbles across a crime - her roommate is murdered - it makes sense that she turns to her books for answers. Only, the books she loves are Gothic novels, so ghosts and various psychic messages get involved... particularly the ghost of her late, lamented cat, Mr. Grey!
When we read your books will we know the real you?
You'll learn about things I love and know sides of me, for sure!
How long does it take you to write a book?
I can draft a book in four or five months, but then it's best if I let it sit for at least a few weeks before revising. I always find that some of what I thought I'd written stayed in my head! Then I have to put that in, and then we're good to go!